Try holiday art
Kat Murrell offers three alternatives to big box retail: Art vs. Craft, the Art Bar and a pop-up gallery on the East Side.
The holiday season is bearing down fast with promises of good cheer, stuffing ourselves silly with turkey, and sales luring shoppers to find the perfect presents for loved ones. If you want to steer clear of big box retailers, there are a number of local venues where you can find gifts like no others.
Art vs. Craft is an annual event, now in its ninth year, which brings together crafters, artists, and many others of DIY-spirit to Milwaukee. This one-day fair is coming up this weekend on November 24, which is also Small Business Saturday, if you’re tallying up shopping holidays. The fair will be held at the Harley-Davidson Museum and if previous year’s selections are a gauge, exhibitors will be showing everything from unique prints and photography to coasters and kitchen goods. Jewelry is typically in abundance, as are children’s items and handmade knit apparel. Paper goods and pens are other items with broad appeal, and certainly apropos for any writers in your life. Even if you are not on the hunt for holiday items, it is a lively exhibition of crafts, arts, and other creative endeavors from around the Midwest.
Another annual event, Art Bar’s exhibition “Mini: Tiny Art and Tiny Prices,” is currently underway. Art Bar is not kidding. The walls of this cozy Riverwest institution are lined with dozens upon dozens of small paintings, prints, and photographs. Nothing is over $100, and an ample array are very modestly priced under $50. The artists on view are a mix of new names and established artists, including Stephanie Bartz with black-and-white dog photographs, Michael Kasun and his painted birds, and Melissa Musante with diminutive abstractions. All types of styles are on display, from completely non-representational works to highly detailed pieces featuring all genres of art: still life, landscape, portraiture, architecture and all manner of variations in between. In its guise as both bar and art gallery, it would certainly make for an entertaining date night. Bring your significant someone to get a read on their preferences in pictures.
A unique art venue which has recently appeared on the East Side is the pop-up gallery Now U See Us. Proprietors and artists Geralyn Flick and Stuart Shanks are running the temporary space featuring a variety of two- and three-dimensional pieces, ranging from paintings to ceramics, jewelry, soaps, clothing, cards and more. The gallery will only be around through December and then it’s gone, appearing and disappearing faster than Old St. Nick himself.
Art vs. Craft
Saturday, Nov. 24, 10am-6pm
Harley-Davidson Museum, 400 W. Canal Street
Admission: $4, kids under 13 free
The first 300 shoppers receive a limited edition tote bag designed by the Little Friends of Printmaking
“Mini: Tiny Art & Tiny Prices” through Jan. 3, 2013
722 E. Burleigh Street
Now U See Us
Open through December
2456 N. Murray Ave.
Tues.-Fri. Noon – 8pm
Sat.-Sun. Noon – 4pm